Archive for October, 2010


October 4th, 2010

We’ve all been guilty of pouring a pan of grease down the drain before. “One time won’t hurt anything,” we tell ourselves (for the fifth time). Luckily, restaurants and other establishments are restricted from doing the same thing, and an increasing number of codes and fines are ensuring their adherence.

Allowing grease and other oils into the drainage system causes a lot of damage, especially if you consider that larger restaurants may produce up to 40 gallons of grease a week!  Generally, grease traps or interceptors are suggested or required for any establishment that could cause blockage or hinder sewage treatment with the amount of grease that goes through their drain. 

Grease traps, or interceptors, separate the FOG (fats, oils and greases) and solids from the water by employing simple gravity:  the FOG floats and the solids sink, so the water is free to exit in the middle. The technology behind grease traps has remained relatively unchanged for over 100 years, so despite their inherent simplicity the traps work efficiently (95-98%) when properly cleaned and maintained.

Once the greases and solids are separated, they have to be removed from the interceptor on a regular basis to keep the trap working properly. This process is imperative because the separation efficiency decreases as the trap fills. If the trap is entirely full, no separation is occurring at all, rendering the trap useless. The type and size of interceptor used, as well as the FOG output from the restaurant help deter mine how often the trap must be cleaned. 


In other words, simply having a grease trap is not enough. Despite requiring grease trap installation to keep sewage systems clear, cities can still face costly damages from sewer blockage and backups due to grease trap buildups.


Property and sewer system damages have prompted many cities to develop new ordinances enforcing regular cleaning and maintenance of grease traps. Some regulations also designate the specific equipment and drains that must have a trap. 


In many cases these regulations come with a fierce set of teeth.  You break it, you buy it, cities are saying. Owners may be required to pay for cleaning the systems, clearing blockages and/or repairing damages caused by improper maintenance of their company’s interceptor(s). Cities have also stepped up inspections to catch the problem before the damage is done. Maywood, N.J. and Stockton, Calif. are just two of the cities across the United States implementing grease trap laws.


The Grease Trap series will continue with the dierences and benefits of available intercepts, environmental impact and trap installation and close with design and operation tips!

Industry Follies For Foot Pain

October 4th, 2010

If you can’t handle the foot pain, get out of the kitchen. Is this the message restaurant owners and managers are inadvertently sending employees through their lackadaisical efforts to address the most commonly heard complaint?

The restaurant industry has been criticized for not taking greater strides in trying to find ways to make employees more comfortable, especially when it comes to foot-related pain.

Restaurant employee Molly Buckley participated in a focus group gathered by the National Restaurant Association to offer perspective on this issue. An excerpt from Buckley’s guest writing on an HR website offers a glimpse as to why some restaurant executives may be balking at footcare solutions and what this approach does for employee morale:

One particular Director of HR for a particular restaurant chain said, “Yes, so we invest this money in making our people more “comfortable,” but what is the return on investment (ROI)?” I suddenly felt that my position was no longer important. Sure, you invest time and money in your employees, but … when I think of ROI I think of money spent on advertising dollars and good marketing, not employee morale and well-being.


The issue is not simply about being “comfortable.” Each year there are as many as 120,000 work-related foot injuries and two million sick days taken for foot and leg disorders. When you consider that the average person’s feet bear an equivalent to several hundred tons each day, it’s really not that surprising.

What is surprising is that despite absenteeism, worker injury and lower productivity, a perceived lack of ROI still prevails.